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History of Crawford County Library System

History of the Crawford County Library System


On July 1, 1999, the five libraries in Crawford County, which had been part of the Ozarks Regional Library System, opened their doors for the first time as the Crawford County Library System (CCLS). This change occurred at a time when several other regional systems were reorganizing.

At that time, CCLS had approximately 60,000 books and other materials housed in the five libraries in Alma, Cedarville, Mountainburg, Mulberry, and Van Buren. There were eight employees, plus a new director tasked with organizing the new county system.

The Mountainburg Library was remodeling a building they had leased from the United States Forestry Service so they could move out of the City Complex Building. That move was completed in October 1999, and in 2018 the town opened its new library at 225 Highway 71 NW.

The Alma Library was in the process of purchasing the old hardware store at 624 Fayetteville Avenue, moving there in April 2000. In 2006, an adjacent storefront was purchased to grow the library even more.

A new library opened at 220 North Main Street in Mulberry in 2006 and expanded in 2018, doubling in size. Two new libraries made their debut in 2011, one in Van Buren at 1409 Main Street, and another at 737 Pirates Way in Cedarville.

In 2019, CCLS celebrated its twentieth anniversary. At that time, the libraries housed 197,000 books and other materials, and employed twenty-eight people. The growth continues today.

Today our services include: 

• Public computers, including laptops
• Databases: research/learning, genealogy, newspapers, topics provided by the Arkansas State Library and IMLS
• Study rooms
• Public Wi-Fi
• eBooks and e-audio books that can be downloaded via our webpage, www.crawfordcountylib.org
• Interlibrary loan services, a program that shares books and materials from participating libraries across the U.S.
• Wireless printing
• Storytime for preschool children
• Storytime presented by our staff at outside locations such as daycares, schools, and adult living facilities
• Summer reading programs with parties and prizes
• Teen programs
• Adult programs that include everything from greeting card making to book clubs
• Art camps in partnership with the Center for Art in Education
• STEM and STEAM Programs
• Music programs
• Magic shows
• Science programs
• Exercise programs
• Health seminars

CCLS provides these services through a 1.4 mill property tax that was passed in 1998 and has not been increased since. In December 2019, the CCLS began asking patrons for input into the libraries, asking which services are most important to them, and what services could be added to improve their lives. That data will help the System plan its future as it continues serving the needs of Crawford County, promoting a love of reading, and strengthening our diverse communities.